A picture from outside of an empty garage with a man in a blue shirt and jeans crouched down applying a coating to the corner of the garage. The garage has white walls and has a grey coating on the floor.

After searching and searching for a concrete coating contractor in your area with great reviews, you finally have an appointment scheduled with a sales consultant.

As the date approaches, you start to feel some nerves. How do you know if they are skilled enough? What if they blindside you with faulty products? 

The last thing you want is to feel great about a contractor during a consultation then feel confused about everything as soon as they leave. 

Whether you’re looking to have your garage floor, pool deck, driveway, or outdoor patio coated with a concrete coating, finding the right contractor is crucial to the success of your project. 

The best defense mechanism you can have is the power of knowledge. Researching the contractor, preparing questions ahead of time, and knowing your goals for your project are vital steps before a consultation. 

Southwest Exteriors has been a home exterior remodeling contractor since 1989, specializing in concrete coatings. Because we’ve been in the industry for so long, we’ve seen hundreds of people through this process. From this experience, we’ve crafted the ten questions you need to ask during any consultation.

When you work with us, we want you to have all the information you need to feel comfortable and confident in your project and with us. However, the unfortunate reality is that some contractors are not like that. 

Some even intentionally try to hide information from you by using unclear, confusing language to deflect the true answer. This is why it is up to you to equip yourself with the necessary tools before going into any meeting with a contractor. 

This article will provide 10 questions to ask a concrete coating contractor during a consultation. We will also provide examples of what a great contractor would say and what a not-so-great contractor would say. 

After reading, you will feel confident going into a consultation knowing that you will get the information you need and can weed out a faulty contractor when you spot one. 

Question 1. How long have you been in business? 

How great contractors might answer this question

“We have been locally established for over 25 years. Our company was founded by John Smith back in 1996, and we’ve been here ever since servicing concrete coatings.” 

This answer is clear, direct, and the contractor has been in business for a long period of time. 

What would a bad answer to this question look like?

“Our company was founded in (blank town) way back when, and we moved and started working here a few years ago.”

This answer is not clear at all, they moved their business from town to town, and they haven’t been servicing locally for long. This is a red flag. 

Why asking this question is so important

The longevity of a company is a key quality to look for in a contractor. The longer a contractor has been in business, the more you can trust them with your project. 

A contractor that is only a few years old can be iffy. They haven’t been in business long enough to establish much credibility, and they could end up going out of business within a year. 

You want to know that your contractor has been locally established for many years so that you can trust they will be there for you in the future if anything goes wrong with your concrete coating. 

Question 2. What team will be working on my concrete coating project? 

How great contractors might answer this question

“We have a project manager that will handle the specifications of your project and be your first point of contact if you have any questions. A warehouse manager will ensure the correct products are ordered for your project, and a crew of three will install your concrete coating, including the crew leader. I, as the design consultant, will also be in contact with you throughout the entire process.” 

This answer is as direct as you can get. They outlined who all will be handling your project, what their roles are, and that you will always be in contact with them throughout. 

What would a bad answer to this question look like?

 “I will handle everything for your project as well as the installation.” 

The last thing you want is a contractor that is a one-man show. This is a big red flag that your project is more than likely not going to come out the way you want it to. 

Why asking this question is so important

A project manager is a critical component to the success of your project. They will handle all aspects of the project, from ensuring the measurements of your area are correct to managing the installation crew. 

If a contractor can show you pictures of their team, that is even better. 

Question 3. What products do you use on my floor?

How great contractors might answer this question

“We use a polyurea base coat with vinyl chips and a polyurea topcoat.”

This contractor tells you the exact products they use and what they are made out of. 

What would a bad answer to this question look like?

 “Our coating is the best of the best out there, and it’s going to last forever on your floor.” 

Not only did you not get the answer you were looking for, but this contractor just added extra fluff to try and convince you they are using quality products. 

Why asking this question is so important

Knowing what the products for your coating are made of is important for your education. This way, you can feel more confident in your contractor, knowing the products they use are high-quality. And if they are not, you can choose whether or not you want to work with that contractor. 

Question 4. Do you use any acid washes or dangerous chemicals?

How great contractors might answer this question

“We do not use any acid washes on your concrete, and we do not use any dangerous chemicals that would pose a threat to your health and safety. The coatings have low VOCs, so you may smell them a little during the installation process, but they do not linger as the product cures.”

This contractor addresses that they do not use an acid wash and lets you know that they do not use any harmful chemicals. 

What would a bad answer to this question look like?

 “We do not use any acid washes on the concrete, and the chemicals are not dangerous.”

While this answer isn’t the worst, it is still not specific. Asking about the VOCs (volatile organic compounds) is another aspect to know about the products used. 

Why asking this question is so important

VOCs are what create the stench of the products and can be harmful to your body if they are too high. An acid wash is something you may not want to be used in your home, so it is important to know whether or not they use an acid wash to smooth and prep the concrete.

Question 5. What is the installation process?

How great contractors might answer this question

“First, we’ll test the concrete to make sure the moisture content is low, and the concrete is hard enough. Then, we’ll do an initial grind of the concrete to smooth it out, repair any cracks or pitting, grind the surface again, apply the base coat and spread it evenly, disperse your colored chips, allow them to dry, scrape off the access to ensure a smooth surface, then finally apply the topcoat.”

This answer is clear and outlines all steps. During a consultation, a contractor can go even more in-depth about their processes and materials used. 

What would a bad answer to this question look like?

 “The concrete coating is a simple process. We just clear the area, grind the surface, and apply the coating.” 

This answer is not clear at all. Is the coating only one layer? What even is the coating? 

Why asking this question is so important

The installation process is the most critical component to measuring the success of your project. Even if the best products are applied improperly, they are not going to last as long as they should. 

It is important to be educated on all the steps of the application process, including prep work, what tools are used, and after-care. 

Question 6. How long will it take, and what is the cure time for the coating? 

How great contractors might answer this question

 “It takes about 6 hours for the entire coating process for a two-car garage. The total cure time is 24 hours. You can typically walk on the surface 10 hours later, then park your car on it 24 hours later.”

This answer is clear, and you know it will not be too much of an inconvenience for you to wait 24 hours total. 

What would a bad answer to this question look like?

“The coating process takes about a day. It takes about three days for the coating to completely dry and be okay for you to walk on.” 

This answer is vague. You want to know exactly how long a project is going to take. 

Why asking this question is so important

Anything longer than 24 hours for a cure time is a large inconvenience for you. 

When evaluating contractors, you must consider how long the project will take and how important the timeliness is to you. 

Question 7. What kind of inconvenience will this be for me? 

How great contractors might answer this question

“You will have to clear the surface before installation day. While you can walk on it about 10 hours after, you will want to wait the full 24 hours before placing items back.”

This contractor is honest with what you will need to do beforehand and how long you will have to wait before moving things back. 

What would a bad answer to this question look like?

 “This project is no inconvenience at all! You will have to wait a few days before you can walk on it, but that’s not too long.”

This contractor is trying to make their service sound better than it actually is. They are dismissing the biggest con of a concrete coating: the cure time. 

Why asking this question is so important

A major red flag in a contractor is dismissing your concerns and hyping up their service. A high-quality contractor will be honest with you about their products and services, even the things that aren’t so glamorous. 

The best contractors want what’s best for you, whether it includes them or not. They will not try to make themselves sound better than they are or overcompensate for the potential cons of their products or services. 

Question 8. What is the warranty? 

How great contractors might answer this question

 “The product has a lifetime warranty against peeling and blistering for a lifetime in your home. This does not include accidental damage, chipping, or fading. At our company, we offer a lifetime warranty for as long as you live in your home, meaning we will cover the cost of the product, installation, and labor if anything goes wrong with your coating.”

This contractor covers the product warranty, contractor warranty, and what a lifetime means. 

What would a bad answer to this question look like?

 “Our coatings have a lifetime warranty which is the best you can get.” 

This answer is not clear at all. When understanding a warranty, you must define what a lifetime is. 

Why asking this question is so important

Some contractors may claim they offer a lifetime warranty, but what they really mean is that the warranty covers the lifetime of the product, which may only be 20 years. 

You want to know specifically what is and is not covered and how long the warranty is. You also want to know what the manufacturer’s warranty is for the product and what the contractor’s warranty is for their service and installation. 

Question 9. Who do I call if I need to file a warranty claim? 

How great contractors might answer this question

 “We handle all warranty claims for you. You can call me, your project manager, our front office, or the number on our website. You will then be connected to the right contact here at our company to walk you through the warranty and next steps.”

A contractor that handles their client’s warranty claims is one you can trust. 

What would a bad answer to this question look like?

 “If you have any issues with your coating that is defined under the warranty, call 1-800-123-4567 to file a claim.”

If you’re directed to any 1-800 number, this is a red flag. 

Why asking this question is so important

A contractor that does not handle any warranty claims for products they have installed does not have your back. This is a key indicator of whether or not you can trust a contractor. 

Question 10. Can the coating be applied to my walls? 

How great contractors might answer this question

 “Yes, the coating can be applied to the walls, or verticals, of your room.”

What would a bad answer to this question look like?

 “No, we can’t apply the coating on vertical surfaces.”

Depending on your goals for your project, this may or may not be important to you. For garages with concrete up the walls, it is popular to have those walls coated to match the flooring. 

Why asking this question is so important

Do you want your concrete walls to be coated? Asking this question is important to know that a contractor can do what you want. 

How to prepare for your concrete coating consultation 

Researching concrete coating styles, contractors, and questions to ask are the most important things you can prepare before a consultation with a concrete coating contractor. 

These 10 questions to ask a concrete coating contractor ensure you get the information you need about their products, installation, warranty, and more. 

If a contractor deflects your questions or answers with a vague statement, beware. A high-quality contractor will want you to have all the information you need regarding your project so you can feel confident in them and trust them. 

With Southwest Exteriors, communication is one of the most important principles to us. We want to answer all your questions before you have to ask them and want to be as transparent as possible with you about our company, products, and processes. 

We also want to provide you with the proper resources you need to prepare for your consultation so you can be as educated as possible. 

Are you ready to have your garage, driveway, or patio coated? Schedule a free in-home consultation by filling out the form on our web page.